The reason many people hang on to unused or expired prescription and nonprescription medicines is because they simply don’t know what to do with them. What’s more, folks often dispose of these drugs by washing them down the sink or throwing them into the toilet, or they toss them into the trash. But there are better, more environmentally friendly options.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the best way to get rid of pharmaceuticals you no longer need is to contact city or county government agencies or law enforcement organizations to find out about local take-back programs for meds in your communities.

Another good option? Just read the labels on packaging and patient information that accompany medicines. Many have instructions on how to dispose of these medications.

Also, visit the Drug Enforcement Administration’s website at to find disposal locations for unused or expired drugs in your area.